‘River’s Edge’, ’The Waterdance’ Spirit Award Winner Was 62 –

Neil Jimenez, who has won three Indie Spirit Awards for writing; Riverside and writing and co-directing water dance, have died. He was 62 years old. Jimenez died Dec. 11 of a heart attack in Arroyo Grande, CA, his sister, Kathleen Serio, said.

Jimenez won his first Spirit Award in 1988 for his screenplay. river bank, A thriller film directed by Tim Hunter and starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ion Skye and Dennis Hopper. The 1986 picture about a group of California friends who get caught up in a murder and cover-up also won best feature at Spirit that year and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.


The Sacramento native penned or co-wrote the script Where the river runs black. (1986) and It was dark (1991) and the story of the Bette Midler period drama For boys (1991). Jimenez’s next project was water dance, which featured Eric Stoltz as a man who comes to terms with paraplegia after a hiking accident. Helen Hunt and Wesley Snipes also starred in the film, which won Indie Spirit for Jimenez’s script and best first feature. It also took home the Audience Award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for its Grand Jury Prize. Jimenez, himself a wheelchair user and a paraplegic, also won the fest’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for the picture.

Many top critics, including Roger Ebert and The New York TimesVincent Canby praised the film.

“His writing voice is seductive, powerful and completely unique – like a complex minor chord that can go in any direction” Water dance said co-director Michael Steinberg. “Dark, comedic, romantic, political, gritty, fantastical, poetic. … Jimenez, like Tarantino, and The Farrelly Brothers, had a voice strong enough to change cinema.


Jimenez later co-wrote sleep with me (1994) and A way to hide (1995).


“My brother loved to write and create,” his sister Elizabeth Rathjan said in a statement. “The chime of typing seemed to come from the walls of his bedroom every day. He had drawers full of typed pages and journals filled with his words and ink doodles. He wrote then because he had to.” There was, he needed it and he wanted it. I always imagined going into a bookstore and looking at the books my brother had written. Instead, it was a video store and movies.


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